Home » Intelligent Design » ID “a branch of creationism” – Adam Rutherford from Nature

ID “a branch of creationism” – Adam Rutherford from Nature

Adam Rutherford from Nature shows he is blinded even to an understanding of the difference between ID  and creationism. In his teacher’s TV rant he calls for the re-education of the 18% of UK science teachers not convinced that Darwinism has, in his words, “withstood all attacks”.

Commenting on the same survey, UK Daily Telegraph defines ID as “the theory that the universe shows signs of having been designed rather than evolving”

In their failure to even grasp the basic definition of ID, these people are, the words of Richard Dawkins, “either stupid, ignorant or dare I say it, evil.”

Teachers.tv video

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32 Responses to ID “a branch of creationism” – Adam Rutherford from Nature

  1. I would be interested in seeing a side by side comparison of Intelligent Design, Evolution, Creationism, and Atheism.

  2. Well I don’t think all 4 of those are necessarily exclusive

    But in the case of Adam Rutherford equating ID to Creationism, it’s a pathetic strawman. By his definition of ID, any proof of evolution (i.e. change over time, common descent…not necessarily Darwinian processes proving everything wrong) proves ID to be wrong

    Saying that Darwinian evolution has “withstood all attacks”, or like he was quoted as saying in the next post on this blog, “The theory of evolution is supported by so many facts that as far as science goes, it’s as irrefutable as the theory of gravity” is mind-boggling.

    The fact that people like him hold high-ranking positions within the science community with their visciously dogmatic beliefs is scary, and anything but scientific.

    FtK’s post of Romans 1:18-23 is all too fitting

  3. Fixed the video.

  4. Hey thanks a lot Patrick.

  5. 5

    It’s sort of like Darwinists read from a pre defined script

    “ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo”

    “ID is *not* science, evolution is.”

    The more you say it the more true it becomes.

  6. It’s just funny that these guys are not clued in enough to explicate the origins and relationships of the various kinds of modern non-Darwinist, which are a matter of explicit public record and for which almost all of the adherents are still living among us. Yet they are supposed to have it right when they tell us about the ancient and irreproducible origins of life forms, all using evidence which is a pittance compared to figuring out the true differences between ID and creationism.

    Surpassing strange.

  7. It is interesting to me that depsite the fact that the UK government, the US Supreme Court, scientific journals including Nature and Science, and now the president elect of the US all say that ID is a form of creationism and is non-scientific, you continue to say that it is. Do you know something we don’t, cos if you do, you should really try to get it published in a reputable journal.

    Posted on both threads.

    Best wishes

    Adam

  8. Adam,

    Explain why you assert that “ID is a form of creationism” and is “non-scientific”? Perhaps once you list your specific reasons we would be able to answer in full.

  9. Well, you know very well why I say these things, but I’ll play along.

    Am I right in saying that ID utilises an erroneous concept called ‘irreducible complexity’, which suggests that some aspects of biology show sophistication which cannot be explained by evolution by natural selection? The inference from here is the teleological argument kicks in, and that they display characteristics that imply a design. A design requires a designer, an intelligent one by your definition. A designer, or creator, hence it’s creationism. Perhaps not the biblically literal creationism, but it’s creationism nonetheless.

    This chain was verified in the case of Kitzmiller v Dover, where, comically evidence was supplied that early versions of the book which became of Pandas and People contained the word ‘creator’ which was clumsily replaced with ‘intelligent design’ or ‘design proponents’. As you very well know, this was done so hastily that it inadvertantly created the word ‘cdesign proponentsists’: the missing link between creationism and ID.

    As for it not being science, my words could not improve upon those of Judge John Jones III:
    ‘The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory’.
    Unless you can show me an experimental design that will determine the existence of a designer, then I’m afraid it isn’t science.

    Best wishes

    Adam

  10. Dear Adam,

    Thanks for your contribution.

    You are obviously not alone in your view that ID is simply re-badged creationism. This is however not the way we view it.

    We see ID as the science of the detection of intelligent agency in physical patterns. The official definition is “the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as a result of intelligence.”

    Creationism has always referred to the belief that the world came into being in a way that is described in a religious revelation. The religious revelation is used to interpret the data.

    ID does not start with the belief in a religious revelation, or even a belief in God.

    ID looks at patterns in nature, raw data, and assesses whether the data is best explained by undirected simple physical processes, like random genetic mutation and natural selection, or whether intelligent planning and purpose are likely to be involved.

    We in ID have no interest in finding problems that do not exist in nature. We simply have not been convinced that Darwin and his followers have adequately explained the kinds of data we are finding in molecular biology. We are on the whole not stupid, as many assume.

    People like Dr Dembski have brilliant minds. We would have less problems if we did not subscribe to ID as a legitimate scientific pursuit. We are open to you or anyone else telling us the truth, but are you open to the possibility that the truth is pointing to the involvement of intelligence in the emergence and evolution of life on earth?

  11. 11

    I understand that ID is distinct from Biblical revelation and young Earth creationism. That is fine.

    My belief is that every argument put forward by ID proponents that points toward a creator can be refuted using known evolutionary theory. The Dover trial showed that.

    Setting that aside, even if the evidence pointed convincingly towards an intelligent hand at work, that is inherently an untestable hypothesis without that inteligence revealing itself. Otherwise it is a very unparsimonious solution. Therefore, as it is untestable, and therefore cannot be science.

    Whoever the intelligence is, ID has to remain unscientific, according to any accepted definition of what science is.

    Cheers

    Adam

  12. Adam

    “I understand that ID is distinct from young Earth creationism.”

    If this is really the case then you would be more helpful to state that when you refer to ID.

    “every argument put forward by ID proponents that points toward a creator can be refuted using known evolutionary theory. The Dover trial showed that.”

    We have read and analysed the Dover trial and we are still here. Why is that do you think? We do not agree that Dover was the one sided victory that others see it as.

    “even if the evidence pointed convincingly towards an intelligent hand at work, that is inherently an untestable hypothesis without that inteligence revealing itself.”

    If you have watched the funny movie “The gods must be crazy” you will know that even African tribes people can tell intelligent design when they see it and that they attributed that design to a deity. In their case it was wrong to assign it to a deity but they were correct to assign the data to an intelligent cause. In one sense, the evidence pointing to the intelligence is the same as the intelligence revealing itself.

    There are many within mainstream Christianity who are perfectly comfortable with a God who has chosen to make creation in a way that it does hide the creator. That is an available theological option for us to take

    In the church I attend, there is a university professor who is in charge of a large genetics research institute. He holds the view that God has not revealed Himself in any detectable way in nature. I am fine with that. I could adopt that view if I chose. It is the evidence that keeps me from adopting that view, not the theology.

    ID proponents who are Christians think that the evidence points to an Intelligence who is revealed in the biological world in a similar way to the way most scientists saw things before Darwin. It is the atheists who have no option to consider the evidence and follow it where it leads, without a major shift in their world view.

    “Whoever the intelligence is, ID has to remain unscientific, according to any accepted definition of what science is.”

    If definitions are constructed in such a way that they dictate that a false explanation must be accepted for real data, then science shows it is not interested in what is real, only what is acceptable to the current definition makers.

    Take as an example an authentic SETI signal with the first 100 prime numbers eminating from a distant gallaxy. From your statements, it would be impossible to attribute that signal to an intelligent cause.

  13. 13

    I am not aware of the prime numbers from SETI, s would love to see some background on that.

    My religious views can be separated from my opinions on the teleogical argument. You’re fighting a bold if probably futile cause if you want to redefine science such that it incorporates concepts which cannot be tested. Where you see evidence of a deisgner, I see evidence for evolution. No faith is required in this, simply that evolution by natural selection is the parsimonous answer. We know that evolution exists, and works. It works as a science as it is testable, makes accurate predictions and is backed up by myriad observations. The putative existence of a designer satisfies none of these criteria and there is never a parsimonious solution.

  14. Adam

    We know that design exists, and works. You’ve heard of genetic engineering, right? If not I can point you to some sources where you can learn what it is.

    So what predictions, precisely, does “evolution” make? Can you predict the next step in human evolution for me? When will it occur, what will it be?

    Of course you cannot. Your version of evolution is a stochastic process. Humanity may or may not evolve. It may or may not go extinct without spawning any new species. Evolution “predicts” nothing or everything, which makes it quite useless.

  15. 15

    @DaveScot: try this page, it should help you understand why your post is both nonsensical and ignorant.
    http://wiki.cotch.net/index.ph.....redictions

  16. DaveScot

    You’ve heard of genetic engineering, right? If not I can point you to some sources where you can learn what it is.

    Maybe you should have done some Google search before stating the above: Dr Adam Rutherford

    is a science journalist with a degree in evolutionary genetics and a PhD in retinal genetics. He has featured on Channel 4′s Men in White and writes a blog for The Guardian.

  17. I am not aware of the prime numbers from SETI, s would love to see some background on that.

    Nowadays, real SETI researchers aren’t even looking for prime number sequences like what was proposed by Sagan. They simply scan regions of the electromagnetic spectrum in search of signals that would be difficult to attribute to natural phenomena (no known Laws). Essentially, they’re limiting themselves to Node 1 of the Explanatory Filter (EF). But if a signal is found it’s possible the full EF may be applicable. I’ll work you through the SETI example.

    The signal from Contact:

    110111011111011111110111111111110111111111111101111111111111111101111111
    111111111111011111111111111111111111011111111111111111111111111111011111
    111111111111111111111111110111111111111111111111111111111111111101111111
    111111111111111111111111111111111101111111111111111111111111111111111111
    111111011111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111011111111111111111
    111111111111111111111111111111111111011111111111111111111111111111111111
    111111111111111111111111110111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
    111111111111111111111101111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
    111111111111111111111101111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
    111111111111111111111111011111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
    111111111111111111111111111111110111111111111111111111111111111111111111
    111111111111111111111111111111111111111111110111111111111111111111111111
    111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111110111111111
    111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
    111111111111111101111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
    1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

    The Explanatory Filter

    1. Node 1 of the EF: Law

    No law is known.

    2. Node 2 of the EF: Complexity

    1126 bits, far exceeding 500 informational bits (Universal Probability Bound).

    3. Node 3 of the EF: Specification

    This sequence is pattern for the prime numbers from 2 to 101, where a given prime number is represented by the corresponding number of 1′s and the individual prime numbers are separated by pauses (i.e., 0’s).

    Thus, Design is inferred. Dembski wrote on this topic around 10 years ago.

    We know that evolution exists, and works.

    We would agree 100% in regards to micro-evolution. One of the central tenets of the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology as celebrated in 1959 was the idea that macroevolution and microevolution were essentially the same process. That is, macroevolution was simply microevolution extrapolated over deep evolutionary time, using the same mechanisms and with essentially the same effects. A half century of research into macroevolution has shown that this is probably not the case. When it comes to producing macro-evolution, which usually involves Irreducibly Complex systems, a mechanism is currently unknown or at least heavily contested. So how can you confidently state that “evolution works”? Can you define exactly what you believe is working and give a specific example?

    It [evolutoinary theory] works as a science as it is testable, makes accurate predictions and is backed up by myriad observations. The putative existence of a designer satisfies none of these criteria and there is never a parsimonious solution.

    To see how wrong you are you could simply browse over to Dave’s latest thread to see this quote:

    The authors sought to identify the underlying cause for this self-correcting behavior in the observed protein chains. Standard evolutionary theory offered no clues.

    Core ID theory and some ID-compatible hypotheses predicted the existence of such a system, among others. As PaV said: Somehow ID can explain, and predict, phenomena; yet it’s “not scientific”.

  18. Adam,

    Thanks for engaging. It is better to dialogue than to fight.

    “I am not aware of the prime numbers from SETI”

    That was a hypothetical situation to demonstrate that if a signal were received from a distant galaxy, then according to your insisting on knowing the intelligence behind the signal, you would not be able to conclude the obvious. Design detection does not need to find the designer, only infer its existence.

    “My religious views can be separated from my opinions on the teleogical argument.”

    Ours also. But believers have a greater range of options to explore, where non believers MUST have a material answer.

    “You’re fighting a bold if probably futile cause if you want to redefine science such that it incorporates concepts which cannot be tested.”

    Design detection can be tested.

    “Where you see evidence of a deisgner, I see evidence for evolution.”

    It is not evidence of “a designer” but of “design”. We know that design can result from intelligent action. We know that RM and NS can produce some apparent design. The question is whether RM and NS can account for the type of evidence we are finding.

    “No faith is required in this, simply that evolution by natural selection is the parsimonous answer.”

    We think you have a lot of faith to attribute that type of evidnce to the graet unseen blind watchmaker.

    “We know that evolution exists, and works.”

    We agree that evolution exists on a micro scale and that it can do some adapting. We don’t agree that it accounts for much on a macro scale. The origin of life is a real issue for us.

  19. adamrutherford:

    You say:

    “Am I right in saying that ID utilises an erroneous concept called ‘irreducible complexity’”

    Why erroneous? You are not right at all. ID certainly utilizes the concept of irreducible complexity, but it is not erroneous, and it is not certainly the only important concept in ID. Try CSI, for instance.

    You say:

    “which suggests that some aspects of biology show sophistication which cannot be explained by evolution by natural selection?”

    No, it suggests that some biological machines have a special kind of complexity which cannot be generated by random variation and selected by natural selection in gradual steps.

    You say:

    “The inference from here is the teleological argument kicks in, and that they display characteristics that imply a design.”

    No, the teleological argument derives first of all from the definition of CSI, and from Dembski’s probabilistic analysis, and form the considerations about the formal characteristics of human design.

    You say:

    “A design requires a designer, an intelligent one by your definition”

    That’s correct.

    You say:

    “A designer, or creator, hence it’s creationism. Perhaps not the biblically literal creationism, but it’s creationism nonetheless.”

    That is nonsense. The concept of design and designer does not imply creation and creator, unless you are using those words in the sense which can apply also to human designers. Is human engineering creationism?

    You say:

    “This chain was verified in the case of Kitzmiller v Dover, where, comically evidence was supplied that early versions of the book which became of Pandas and People”

    ID is a scientific theory. Pandas and People, in all its versions, is a book. Which, by the way, I have never read. I am really surprised that you have difficulties in understanding the difference.

    You say:

    “As for it not being science, my words could not improve upon those of Judge John Jones III:
    ‘The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory’.”

    The argument from authority is always a sad one in science, and in general in human reasoning. But it becomes a tragedy and a shame when the supposed scientific authority is a judge.

    You say:

    “Unless you can show me an experimental design that will determine the existence of a designer, then I’m afraid it isn’t science.”

    At risk of sounding offensive, I must say that your epistemology and philosophy of science appear, at best, superficial, and at worst grossly dogmatic. The definition of science is too complex a subject to be readily dismissed on the basis of your personal authority.

    You may like it or not, but ID is a perfectly sound scientific theory: it starts from observations, and tries to explain what we observe (biological information) on the basis of what we observe (human design), utilizing essentially mathematical and statistical formalization to do that. It makes previsions, is perfeclty falsifiable (but not falsified), and satisfies all the aspects of science, indeed of good science.

    Finally, I will give you my personal ideas about the word creationism. In my opinion, creationism can mean two different things:

    1) A philosophy which believes in some form of Creator. In that sense, many religions are creationist, but probably not all.

    2) A scientific attitude which utilizes the belief in Creation as a scientific form of authority. That is, indeed, what is usually called “Creation science”.

    Both have no relationship with ID. ID is not a religious philosophy, and is not creation science. ID does not need, in any way, the concept of a Creator.

    It is obvious that many proponents of ID, but not all, may be religious people, and believe in a Creator. In the same way, many proponents of darwinism, but not all, may believe in strict materialism, and deny the existence of a Creator (see Dawkins). Both are philosophical choices, and have nothing to do with science.

    Finally, in my opinion, science should never be subdued to any more general philosophy, be it religious or materialist. A general philosophy can certainly inspire individual scientists, but they are not good scientists if they allow to their philosophy a role of authority when they do science.

    And just a last note, although it has nothing to do with ID. In my opinion, the hypothesis of a Creator is a perfectly admissible scientific hypothesis, like the hypothesis of strict materialism. The possibility to find support to those hypotheses by science is all another matter, and certainly not solved.

  20. Adam

    Predicting history is useful in what way?

  21. DaveScot,
    Not answering for Adam, but he did link to examples of predictions that don’t involve predicting history that seem to be useful to ongoing studies of evolution.

  22. Rutherford appears to have given up but I thought I’d point out that his main argument is on UD’s list of Arguments Not To Use.

    Since Intelligent Design Proponents Believe in a “Designer” or “Creator” They Can Be Called “Creationists”

    By that measure Darwin was a Creationist and the Theory of Evolution a Creationist theory:

    There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved. –Charles Darwin

    Anyone who thinks a design inference is warranted is in some sense a “creationist”. The argument hinges on conflating “creationist” with biblical creationist. One can be the former without being the latter. ID proponents may also believe in God, a Creator, Genesis, or they may be agnostic. However, ID is the effort to form scientific theories based on empirical evidence, rather than on religious texts (whether true or not).

    In principle many ID proponents would not mind being labeled as a “creationist” in a general sense. The problem is that it causes confusion since it doesn’t recognize the significant distinctions. Mankind has always been interested in investigating the relationship between God and nature. At times, philosophy defined the debate; at other times, science seemed to have the upper hand. What has always mattered in this discussion is in which DIRECTION the investigation proceeds. Does it move forward? That is, does it assume something about God and then interpret nature in that context. Or does it move backward? That is, does it observe something interesting in nature and then speculate about how that might have come to be? If the investigation moves forward, as does Creationism, it is faith based. If it moves backward, as does ID, it is empirically based.

    Each approach has a pedigree that goes back over two thousand years. We notice the forward approach in Tertullian, Augustine, Bonaventure, and Anselm. Augustine described it best with the phrase, “faith seeking understanding.” With these thinkers, the investigation was faith based. By contrast, we discover the “backward” orientation in Aristotle, Aquinas, Paley, and others. Aristotle’s argument, which begins with “motion in nature” and reasons BACK to a “prime mover,” is obviously empirically based.

    To say then, that Tertullian, Augustine, Anselm (Creationism) is similar to Aristotle, Aquinas, Paley (ID) is equivalent to saying forward equals backward. It has nothing to do with subjective interpretation.

  23. Rutherford appears to have given up

    It looks like you sacred him off with logic and evidence.

    It’s kind of a shame.

  24. No, I just got bored listening to your self-perpetuating falacies.

  25. Already? You did not even get around to explaining in rational terms why they are “self-perpetuating fallacies”. If ID is a known fallacy it should be fairly easy for you to point out evidence that falsifies it. Although, with your few comments you did illustrate that your knowledge on the topic of ID is limited. Thus I would suggest you read the available literature before continuing since it’s difficult to argue against that which you are ignorant of.

  26. 26

    What is the point? I’ve done this a thousand times before and it is a futile discussion. You refuse to accept the boundaries of science, and continually assert that ID is within those boundaries, when the most superficial analysis shows that it is not, and can never be considered a scientific theory. ID, at best, is an idea.
    Engaging with idnet.com.au was pleasant enough, but it’s the same old arguments. “Irreducible complexity” is not a scientific idea. It can never be. There ID can never be a scientific concept. It’s that simple.
    ToE does not address abiogenesis, admitedly, but to invoke a designer is not parsimouious. It requires a concept for which we have no evidence. Thus, it is not a rational answer.

  27. Well, it seems that adamrutherford’s interest for debate is lower than ours. After all, we did read and comment his statements, and argued about their fallacies, instead of simply affirming them.

  28. 28

    So go on then gpuccio, debate any of the points in my last answer. I’ll send you a prize if any of them are new.

  29. Well, your points seem to be mostly raw assertions more in the realm of the philosophy of science than evidence.

    “Irreducible complexity” is not a scientific idea.

    I sort of agree with you there. It’s basic engineering concepts applied to biology. Although there are others who extend the concept. The discovery of irreducibly complex features within the Universe (e.g. flagella) might be called the Weak Irreducible Complexity Principle and the belief that the Universe itself is irreducibly complex as the Strong Irreducible Complexity Principle.

    And there’s no doubt that IC is a reality in biology since direct stepwise pathways cannot produce the majority of the machines we see. The point of dispute is whether or not indirect stepwise genetic pathways are feasible with ONLY none-foresighted variation (I say “only” because Intelligent Evolution has NFV acting to a certain extent).

    So asserting that IC does not exist at all only makes you sound foolish. In order to falsify our claim, a thorough stepwise indirect genetic pathway must be extrapolated from the data. Why foolish? Even if Darwinian mechanisms are discovered to be capable of producing core IC systems with 500+ informational bits the concept of IC will still be valid since it would still be in reference to direct pathways.

    There’s also Weak IC and Strong IC. Weak IC is a system composed of 2-4 components, many of which should be reachable by indirect pathways. Strong IC is systems with tens and hundreds of components which is the real barrier.

    There’s also core IC, meaning that you could have an overall system that can still function if some components are stripped away. Like a bike if it’s seat was removed. The “core” refers to the components that must exist in order for the system to function at all. Although some of these non-core components may be responsible for increasing efficiency levels to the point that the survivability of the organism is affected.

    Then of course this system with a core function must be complex enough.

  30. adamrutherford:

    I certainly go on, even if I would have appreciated at least some comment on my previous answer to you (#19). Anyway:

    You would like new arguments, but I have to remind you that your arguments are a stereotyped repetition of old things, so it is maybe unavoidable that some of my counter-argument are not completely unknown. But I will try to be as clear and detaile as possible.

    You say:
    “What is the point? I’ve done this a thousand times before and it is a futile discussion. You refuse to accept the boundaries of science, and continually assert that ID is within those boundaries, when the most superficial analysis shows that it is not, and can never be considered a scientific theory. ID, at best, is an idea.”

    I am afraid we are not beginning well. I would like to seriously answer, but where is your argument here? I just see a list of undetailed assertions. I can agree only with one thing: your analysis is most superficial.
    A discussion is certainly futile if there are no arguments to discuss. So I will try to imagine your arguments for you.
    You say that I (or we at ID) refuse to accept the boundaries of science, but are not telling us what those boundaries are, least of all who has decided them. My answer is of two kinds:

    a) The most important, is that there are not fixed boundaries of science, least of all conventional boundaries decided by men. The nature of science, its definition, its meaning, its boundaries, its methods, its natural history, and many other related things are certainly important issues, but as many other issues of the same kind they are objects of the discipline called: “phulosophy of science”. And if you have even a minimun awareness of the contents of that discipline, and of its history, you have to aknowledge that there is no consensus about those issues. But even if there were some consensus, that would not mean that the problems are solved. Phylosophy is a constantly changing discipline, and no living (or past) authority has the right to set forever any philosophical issue, least of all those of the phylosophy of science.

    b) But let’s say that we methodologically accept some definition of science, and therefore some boundaries. I can well do that. I can even accept the most common models of science, from Popper on. What I can’t accept is that science define itself in terms of what it should find, in other words in terms of its expected achievements. That’s circular reasoning, and very bad methodology. It’s the surest way to find “only” what you expect, which is exactly what science shouldn’t do.

    But, if we stick top a conventional definition of science (classic scientific method, Popperian falsifiability, and so on), then my argument is that ID is completely within those boundaries. That’s why.

    - ID starts from the observation of facts, as any scientific theory should do. And for facts, I really mean facts, that is observables.

    1) The first fact is the special nature of the information contained in biological structures (genomes, proteins, etc.).

    2) The second fact is the similar nature of the information is many human artifacts, that is in designed products.

    The formal properties of those two kinds of information are the same. Dembski has formalized them as CSI (complex specified information), or if you prefer FSCI (functionally specified complex information). CSI is characterized, very brifly by three properites: it is complex (probability of the functional target vs the whole search space < 1:10^150); it is (functionally) specified; it cannot be the product of known laws of necessity.

    3) The third fact is that no CSI has ever been observed which is not in one of the two mentioned classes: biological information and human artifacts.

    These are the facts: simple, incontrovertible. I have never found any serious refutation of these things.

    And here comes the theory, ID theory. Always in brief, it has two parts:

    1) A negative part. Actual theories which try to explain biological information as the product of unguided mechanisms (typically RV + NS) are not acceptable. They are flawed in theis fundamental logic structure. In other words, they are not good theories. (They are also unsupported by facts, but that’s another story).

    Why? Because RV can never produce CSI. It can never have the necessary probabilistic resources, even if the universe were older than it is, and if all its resources had been dedicated to that specific search. That’s the meaning of the UPB (1:10^150) in the definition otself of CSI.
    And NS? Nothimg to do even with its help. NS could succeed (scarcely) only if every single step of bitlike variation (or at least the vast majority of them) could bear a selectable advantage and be fixed. That’s impossible, not true, unimaginable. It simply is not that way. You can show that with any kind of CSI: computer programs, spoken or written language, proteins, and so on. Complex information is not the accumulation of sigle step increases of information.

    So, RV + NS simply cannot do it. That’s the negative part of ID. Refutation of any possible theory of generation of biological information by unguided forces?

    Is that science? You can bet it is. The most important pronciple from Popper is, as even babies know, falsifiability. Is darwinian evoloution a scientific theory? Yes, it is. Why? Because it is falsifiable. Has ID falsified it? You bet.
    And, as you can see, I have not even cited the concept of IC…
    So, do you agree that the negative part of ID “is” definitely science? You can stick to the point that you don’t believe it is true, that such a falsification is wrong. That’s all another issue. But you cannot say that a theory which falsifies anothe theory is beyond the boundaries of science.

    2) And finally, the positive part of ID. We have already noticed the “fact” that the same kind of information is observable in biological information, in human designed artifacts (or at least in part of them), and nowhere else. A scientific theory should try to explain that. The simplest, and most parsimonious, hypothesis is that a similar causal process is shared by the two things.

    Please, note that we really don’t know the nature of that causal process. In the case of human artifacts, for instance, we don’t know why humans are able to generate CSI so easily. That is not a simple question at all. It probably has deep implications in the theory of the mind and of consciousness. But, in the end, the truth is that we don’t know.

    But even if we don’t know the real nature of the process, we have givem it a name: we call it design. After all, we observe it happening daily, so a name was certainly useful.

    So, what is the positive part of the ID theory? Very simple. We have facts, we have similar properties exclusive to two classes of things, we have a mysterious process which can generate one of the two classes (human design), we just hypothesize that the second class of things is generated by a similar process which we similarly call design.

    We could stop there. And we are completely within the boundaries of science.

    But there is another facet of the issue. The process is descign, but we usually call “designer” the originator of the process, which, in the case of human artifacts, is a conscious being. We usually associate design with a conscious designer, because that’s the absolute rule in the class of human artifacts. We even see that in our personal experience: when we design something, when we speak or write or generate computer programs, we do that consciously, and through intermediate conscious processes. There is no other way.

    So, the final hypothesis of ID is that the design we observe in nature is the product of an intelligent, conscious designer. Is that philosophy. Perhaps a bit. But not more than believing in the existence of laws of nature, or in the existence of matter and energy, or in the value of nathemathics or inference or statistics. All those positions have a bit of philosophy in them. But nobody has ever considered those assumptions “beyond the boundaries of science”.

    Ah, but you are obstinate. You still want to argue that this last part, that there is an intelligent designer, is beyond the boundaries of science…
    Well’ I’ll humaour you for a moment. Then, please explain how a design can come out without a conscious designer, and don’t repeat the same old lies abou unguided principles and blind watchmakers: ID has already falsified all that in its negative part, which is completely within the boundaries of science for any sentient (and maybe intelligent) being.

    So, what are you left with? Billions of examples of CSI, of intricated design, without any possible explanation. In other words, magic. Or sheer mysticism. The failure of science. The failure of the desire to understand.

    So, I will stick to the designer hypothesis. It is simple, it is parsimonious, it is a natural explanation of observed facts, and it really opens the way to serious research and reflections: who is the designer(s)? how did he implement design in the biological world? when? with which modalities? what is the exclusive property of consciousness which allows the generation of new CSI? And so on.

    You say:

    ““Irreducible complexity” is not a scientific idea. It can never be.”

    I can’t understand why you say that. But frankly, after the long previous discourse, I am tired. Let’s say that I have not used the concept of IC until now. If you want, we can discuss it later.

    You say:
    “There ID can never be a scientific concept. It’s that simple.”

    I have tried to show that it’s not that simple at all.

    “ToE does not address abiogenesis, admitedly, but to invoke a designer is not parsimouious.”

    I have not even started to address the problem of abiogenesis. I have been generous. And anything is more parsimoniuos than giving false explanations.

    “It requires a concept for which we have no evidence. Thus, it is not a rational answer.”

    Here, frankly, I believe you are precipitating in an epistemological abyss.
    Evidence for concepts? Evidence is sought for theories, not for concepts. And if theories explain facts, then they are supported by them.
    Not a rational answer? Because (you say) there is no evidence? Do you think all rational answers are based on evidence? What about logics and mathenathics?
    Let’s pretend you have only said something with a meaning, like:

    “ID requires an assumption (the existence of designers in pre-human times) for which at present we have no evidence. Therefore, it is a scientific theory unsupported by facts.”

    Well, that sentence has meaning, at least. But it is wrong.

    As we have seen, the assumption, however bold it may seem, “is” supported by a lot of evidence: the immense quantity of things with the properties of design in pre-human eras (biological beings).

    In other words, ID, even in its strongest form (hypothesis of an intelligent designer) “is” a scientific theory, and it “is” supported by evidence.

    You are still free to reject it on scientific grounds. But you have never tried to do that.

  31. Great post, gpuccio

  32. @gpuccio

    #the similar nature of the
    #information is many human
    #artifacts”

    So humans designed life?

    #it is (functionally) specified;
    #it cannot be the product of
    #known laws of necessity

    Irreducible Compexity (AKA God of the Gaps/Argument From Ignorance)? How do you know that it cannot?

    #These are the facts: simple,
    #incontrovertible. I have never
    #found any serious refutation
    #of these things.

    But those are not facts at all. They are mere assertions with no supporting evidence or argument.

    #unguided mechanisms
    #(typically RV + NS)

    Natural Selection is not unguided.

    #Because RV can never
    #produce CSI.

    If by “RV” you mean “random variation”, you are basically setting up a straw man here. Why do you insist on ignoring NS when it’s convenient for your argument?

    Furthermore, you have not demonstrated CSI. All you have is a number of assertions.

    #it is complex (probability
    #of the functional target
    #vs the whole search
    #space < 1:10^150)

    This is another straw man which makes the assumption that everything happened in one single huge step.

    #NS could succeed (scarcely)
    #only if every single step of
    #bitlike variation (or at least
    #the vast majority of them)
    #could bear a selectable
    #advantage and be fixed.

    This is yet another false assertions. Most mutations are neutral, some are advantageous. Those that are detrimental are likely do disappear because it puts the life form at a disadvantage.

    #Complex information is not
    #the accumulation of sigle
    #step increases of information.

    Yet another false assertion. Gene duplication and mutation to the duplicated gene will lead to the genes being different over time.

    #Is darwinian evoloution a
    #scientific theory? Yes, it is.
    #Why? Because it is falsifiable.
    #Has ID falsified it? You bet.

    As I have demonstrated, you have not falsified. At best, you have falsified a straw man.

    #So, do you agree that the
    #negative part of ID “is”
    #definitely science?

    No, as it is apparently based on false claims and groundless assertions.

    #But you cannot say that a
    #theory which falsifies anothe
    #theory is beyond the
    #boundaries of science.

    There is no “theory of ID”. Even the DI admits and leading ID proponents admit that.

    #We have already noticed
    #the “fact” that the same
    #kind of information is
    #observable in biological
    #information, in human
    #designed artifacts (or at
    #least in part of them),
    #and nowhere else.

    Another groundless assertion. And are you saying that there is human design in life forms? Really?

    #So, the final hypothesis
    #of ID

    I thought you said it was a theory?

    #But not more than believing
    #in the existence of laws of
    #nature, or in the existence
    #of matter and energy, or in
    #the value of nathemathics
    #or inference or statistics.
    #All those positions have a
    #bit of philosophy in them.
    #But nobody has ever
    #considered those
    #assumptions “beyond the
    #boundaries of science”.

    Another false assertion. The laws of nature are not assumptions. They are testable models.

    #please explain how a design
    #can come out without a
    #conscious designer

    You have yet to show design in life. Apparently you claim human design, but I doubt that you think humans created all life on earth.

    #Billions of examples of CSI,
    #of intricated design,
    #without any possible
    #explanation.

    Appeal to Ignorance/God of the Gaps, or argument from personal incredulity again. You may not know about the explanations, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, and that no one else knows.

    #I have not even started
    #to address the problem of
    #abiogenesis.

    I somehow doubt that you know anything about it, since you don’t even seem to know the difference between evolution and abiogenesis

    #the immense quantity of
    #things with the properties
    #of design in pre-human
    #eras (biological beings)

    In other words, humans designed life? Or God is human?

    #Let’s say that I have not
    #used the concept of IC
    #until now.

    That’s because IC has already been refuted. And IC is a fallacy anyway. More appeal to ignorance/God of the gaps.

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